Ask The Experts: Las Cruces Traditions -
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Las Cruces is rich in culture and tradition! Many traditions are tied to annual events. Here are 10 of our favorite Las Cruces activities to add to your can’t-miss-this list!

Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday when families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives and friends for a brief reunion that includes food, drink, and celebration. Visit the Plaza de Mesilla to see altars created to honor loved ones who have passed or even create one of your own.

Las Cruces Renaissance ArtsFaire celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021, meaning that generations of Las Cruces citizens have enjoyed this festival. The Doña Ana Arts Council hosts this medieval event, and we dare ye not to have a great time!

The Las Cruces High School/Mayfield High School football rivalry has been going on for longer than 50 years and brings out community members young and old to support their alma mater. This rivalry runs deep through the veins of this city, as documented in the film about the gridiron classic, Cruces Divided.

Car racing at the Vado Speedway Park is an old Las Cruces tradition at a brand-new venue. For decades, the 40-plus racing events were held at the fairgrounds on the western outskirts of town, but now can be found at the new state-of-the-art Vado Speedway Park. Racing season lasts most of the year, so get your motor runnin’!

Las Cruces International Film Festival is one of the youngest festivals on our list but is quickly becoming one of the most popular. This film festival has great local support and is the largest event of the year for the New Mexico State University film program. The Las Cruces International Film Festival is held at the Allen Theatres in town and attracts some real Hollywood heavyweights. Grab your tickets and popcorn early, as this festival fills up quickly.

The Las Cruces Symphony has been delighting Las Cruces music fans for more than 60 years. The 70-member orchestra has proven to be a beloved staple of our community for generations with concerts fall through spring.

The battles of I-10 and I-25 are the annual athletic contests our NMSU Aggies face against the in-state rival UNM Lobos to the north and our neighbors to the south, the UTEP Miners. Whether it be basketball, football, or a game of checkers, these rivalries are always exciting and competitive.

The Whole Enchilada Softball Tournament is one of the largest 24-hour softball tournaments in the country. While the popular Whole Enchilada Fiesta that sparked the tournament is no longer, the Whole Enchilada Softball Tournament continues, and welcomes hundreds of teams from every corner of the country annually.

New Mexico beer, wine, and spirits festivals are well-attended events happening throughout the valley. Every Labor Day and Memorial Day, you’ll find wine festivals packed with connoisseurs and novices alike tasting delicious vintners’ creations. If wine is not your beverage of choice, there are multiple beer festivals to enjoy, or let the spirits move you at the 575 Cocktail Classic, the largest statewide cocktail competition, held at the Amador Live complex.

First Friday Downtown Art Ramble is a free event the first Friday of every month from 5 – 8 p.m. A dozen participating museums and galleries in the Arts and Cultural District open their doors to the community. Stroll Main Street and appreciate a wide variety of art, then make a night of it with dinner at one of the many restaurants in the area.


Originally published in Neighbors magazine

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